Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Tourists hear frantic cries for help

24/03/2008 23:06 - (SA)

Hilda Fourie, Beeld

Ohrigstad - Police have stepped up their search for kidnapped Hennielene Botha, 46, after a group of foreign tourists heard a woman's cries for help coming from the boot of a car.

That was while Hennielene's suspected abductors were robbing the tourists after their vehicle had broken down near Graskop.

Cor Cross, a member of the Ohrigstad Farmers' Union, told Beeld that they would be concentrating their search efforts in the Graskop area.

Police spokesperson Armand de Beer said the vehicle in which the 14 tourists - from Britain, Canada and the US - were travelling, broke down near Graskop.

Three robbers

A car stopped and three men - armed with what is believed to have been shotguns and a hunting rifle - robbed them of money, cameras and cellphones.

That's when they heard shouts coming from the boot.

After the robbers had left, the tourists had contracted the police and given them a description of the car and its registration number.

It was Hennielene Botha's silver Toyota Corolla, registration number BMN 559 L. It's suspected that her kidnappers had bundled her into the car's boot.

De Beer said scores of police as well as residents were taking part in the search for Hennielene.

Hennielene's husband Albert, 53, earlier said he was trying to remain positive.

"But, deep inside, you start worrying."

Hennielene was kidnapped on their farm on Saturday night. They own Iketla Lodge about 7km from Ohrigstad.

Heard car being driven off

Albert said his wife had gone to bed early, because she'd had a migraine. He was at the lodge - which is about 100m from the house - until 22:30.

When he got home, everything was in disarray. In their bedroom, drawers had been emptied and there were signs of a struggle.

"My wife was nowhere to be found.

"Staff said they'd heard doors being slammed and a car driving off at high speed.

'No one heard her cry for help'

"However, they'd thought it was me taking my wife to the hospital.

"It's weird that no one heard my wife cry for help.

"She was bound to have screamed."

Albert said he thought the robbers had walked to the farm. Although the farm was fenced in and the gate was locked, there were no security guards, he added.

Albert said he was at a loss as to what the motive for the attack could be.

"I don't know of any enemies my wife might have had. Hennielene is a wonderful person.

"I just want her back.

"I'll give up everything, as long as I can get my wife back."

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2293437,00.html

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